How to Use Aloe Vera Plant- Benefits, Risks and More
Aloe Vera is a succulent, belonging to the genus Aloe. The Aloe Vera plant is generally native to the Arabian Peninsula and is an evergreen plant, spreading greenery throughout the 365 days of the year.
A stemless or short-stemmed plant, the Aloe Vera plant generally grows up to a height of 60 to 100 centimetres in height. It is marked by its fleshy, thick, deep green leaves. Some varieties even have white markings on the leaves.
Aloe Vera Plant Benefits
The Aloe Vera plant is now a household name, popular as an indoor plant. The Aloe Vera has also acquired quite a name as a rather beneficial plant to have around. After all, it is the one plant that we often find in use in various skin-care and hair-care regimens. Moreover, the Aloe Vera plant is also known for its many medicinal benefits.
Medicinal Uses of Aloe Vera
The Aloe Vera is very high in medicinal properties. Here are some of the medicinal uses of the Aloe Vera plant.
- The gel of the Aloe Vera plant is often used to treat burns, even heartburn due to its moisturizing and soothing properties. It also provides relief from pain.
- Recent research has concluded that a compound present in Aloe Vera leaves, called aloe emodin, can positively cure breast cancer.
- Consuming Aloe Vera juice also helps to improve bowel movements and thus, improves digestive health in a person.
- Several studies have provided proof that the Aloe plant can be used as a natural laxative, also relieving constipation.
The Aloe Vera juice can be very beneficial when ingested. However, people suffering from the below stated conditions should refrain from consuming Aloe Vera.
- Cardiac Disorder
- Crohn’s Disease
- Intestinal Obstruction
- Kidney Conditions
- Renal Disorder
- Ulcerative Colitis
Remember, it is always advisable to talk with your doctor before you decide to ingest Aloe Vera to tackle any of your problems.
Here are some side effects that you might face while using Aloe Vera.
- Abdominal Cramps
- Digestive Tract Irritation
- Electrolyte Imbalance
- Skin Allergy
- Skin Irritation
Consult your doctor if you face any of the above-stated side effects.
Aloe Vera Plant Use
The Aloe Vera plant has a bunch of good qualities, more than just the medicinal benefits. Let us look at some of the best uses of the Aloe Vera plant.
- Applying a coating of Aloe Vera gel to some fresh farm produce helps to keep the produce fresher for a longer time, blocking bacterial growth.
- Aloe Vera has great skin-care and hair-care properties. You can use it daily on your face and even mix it in with your shampoo or use it as a conditioner.
- Using fresh Aloe juice on the face helps to get rid of Acne and provides a cooling and soothing composure and lowers the risk of inflammation.
- The Aloe Vera plant is also proven to cure dandruff issues.
- The Aloe plant is also known to alleviate oral health. Due to this, there are several Aloe based mouthwash and toothpaste available in the market.
Aloe Vera Varieties
The Aloe Vera plant is known to have more than 420 different varieties. Some of the more popular and common varieties of the Aloe Vera plant are mentioned below.
The Aloe Principis, or Aloe caesia, is a hybrid variety, a mix of Aloe arborescensand Aloe ferox. The Aloe Principis is considerably large and is marked by its unique light blue coloured leaves. The plant can grow as long as 9 feet in height.
A beautiful variety of the Aloe Vera plant, the Barbados Aloe is also referred to as the Aloe barbadensis. The plant looks upwards, towards the sun, and has greenish-yellow spikes on the leaves. The leaves of the Barbados Aloe are light green but can turn reddish-purple in the spring and summer.
The Lace Aloe, or Aloe aristata, is called so as the leaves are surrounded with lacy white edges. The plant usually grows in groups, resembling the shape of a rosette. An eminent feature of the Lacy Aloe plant is that it can tolerate temperatures as low as -7 degrees Celsius.
The Short-Leaved Aloe looks very similar to the Lace Aloe, with its lacy white edges, except that its leaves are considerably smaller in size. It is scientifically referred to as the Aloe brevifolia and can grow up to just 4 inches in height, rarely reaching beyond this height.
The Snake Aloe stands out because of its prickly dark-red leaf edges. The Snake Aloe can grow as tall as 5 feet and is scientifically referred to as the Aloe broomii. The plant takes up to 5 or 6 years to reach its complete height and is the perfect choice for arid regions.
Can we keep Aloe Vera Plant at Home?
Yes, Aloe Vera can be efficiently grown as a houseplant, mostly because it is easy to grow and care for. In addition to that, the Aloe Vera plant has many different medicinal and other valuable capabilities, including being a natural air-purifying agent. More so, the Aloe plant can also pass off as a great piece of interior decoration.
Here’s how you can easily grow an Aloe Vera plant indoors.
- Start with preparing a planter for your Aloe plant. Make sure that the container you choose has enough drainage holes.
- Fill around one-third of the planter with some moist, well-draining potting soil, do not use regular garden soil for planting an Aloe Vera plant.
- Gently place the plant in and layer it with more soil, leaving just around two inches free at the top of the pot.
- Shift it to a spot with lots of bright sunlight and water the newly planted Aloe Vera plant only after a week or so.
Benefits of Aloe Vera Plant in Home
Having an Aloe plant at home, at your easy disposal, is beneficial in more ways than one. Here’s how you can easily spruce up the benefits of the Aloe plant at home.
- The Aloe Vera plant is a NASA approved natural air purifying agent. It helps to get rid of harmful toxins like benzene and formaldehyde and makes the indoor air cleaner and pollution-free.
- With the Aloe plant around, you can easily incorporate it into your hair-care or skin-care regimes. You just have to tear off a leaf, spoon the gel out and easily use it on your face or hair.
- The Aloe Vera plant also has several medicinal properties, the most basic being treating and healing wounds. Having them close to home makes you a little safe in case of unwanted cuts and scratches.
- Another important benefit of having an Aloe Vera plant at home is that the plant shoots out its offshoots or ‘pups’. This makes it easier to have more Aloe Vera plants around, without worrying about propagation.
How to Take Care of Aloe Vera Plant
The Aloe Vera plant care is an easy enough job. The Aloe Vera is succulent and thus, doesn’t require lots and lots of water to thrive. You can water the plant once every three weeks. But, make sure that the top layer of the soil has dried out before you proceed on to watering the plant.
Avoid over-watering your Aloe plant at all costs. This can lead to root rot, causing the plant to eventually die out. Thus, it becomes important to ensure that the soil dries out, allowing the roots some time to breathe in between two watering sessions.
The Aloe Vera plant is known to sustain quite well in low light or low-lit regions. However, to thrive well and keep flowering, the Aloe Vera plant should be placed at a spot with lots and lots of sunlight. Make sure that the sunlight is filtered as the direct rays of the sun can prove to be harmful to the plant.
You can use a balanced houseplant fertilizer mixed at half-strength, on the Aloe Vera plant, but only during the spring and summer seasons. These are the going months of the plant and they can thrive well with being fertilized once every month. However, in the winters, you can dismiss the duty of fertilizing Aloe Vera plants.
One must also clean their Aloe Vera plant, every once in a while with soapy water to keep it safe from pests and infestation of any kind.
Small Aloe Vera Plant
Different Aloe Vera plants can grow up to different sizes, some staying small while others growing considerably tall. You can however keep the size of your Aloe Vera plant in check through the means of pruning. Pruning allows you to keep your aloe vera plant in a smaller size.
Pruning the Aloe Vera plant becomes necessary to keep it healthy and thriving. The edges of the leaves of the plant should be pruned out if they start losing colour, turning yellow or pinkish-brown in colour. You can use a sterilized knife or shears to get this done.
Aloe Vera Flower Luck
An Aloe Vera plant generally flowers when it matures or reaches its full height. As the plant matures, it produces a flower spike, generally referred to as an inflorescence. It is from this inflorescence that many tubular blossoms or red flowers start blooming. These flowers are considered very lucky in some parts of the world.
However, it is only rarely that indoor Aloe Vera plants bloom flowers. While indoors, a plant doesn’t generally achieve all the conditions necessary for the growth of the Aloe flower, mostly the light requirements. Thus, it is only the outdoor Aloe plants that flower more frequently.
Terracotta Pots for Aloe Vera Plant
The pot that the plant is planted in has a big role to play in keeping the plant healthy and thriving. While choosing a pot for the Aloe plant, you should stick to a Terracotta pot as it is one of the best materials to grow your plant in.
A terracotta pot is a perfect choice for an Aloe Vera plant. The pot allows air exchange inside the pot. It also helps the soil to drain out the excess water quickly, thus preventing root rot. Terracotta pots are also more durable and can easily last for years. However, make sure that your pot has enough drainage holes and is neither too large nor too small for the Aloe plant.
Aloe Vera Potting Soil
The Aloe Vera plant needs to be planted in some well-draining soil. As the Aloe Vera is succulent, it loves to grow in porous soil. Using normal gardening soil for planting an Aloe Vera is a big no. The Aloe plant needs just the right soil mix to be thriving well and good.
The soil used for growing an Aloe Vera plant should be alkaline. The soil should maintain a pH level in the range of 7.5 to 8.
DIY Aloe Vera Potting Soil
Here is a potting soil mix that you can easily prepare at home to grow your Aloe plants in.
- Take some garden soil and clean it properly. Lay the cleaned soil to dry in the sun for around 3 to 4 days.
- Similarly, take the same amount of construction sand or river sand and clean it. Wash the sand at least twice and let it dry.
- After the soil and sand completely dry out, mix the two. Make sure that the proportion of sand and soil remains the same in the mixture.
- Add around a fistful of compost, coco peat or dry leaves into the mixture of sand and soil. Mix the three components well together.
You now have the perfect potting soil for planting an Aloe Vera plant.
Aloe Vera in Water
Did you know that you can also grow Aloe Vera in water? Well, yes, you apparently can.
An Aloe Vera plant can be grown in water by the simple way of submerging the roots of the plant in water and suspending the rest of the plant in a bulb vase.
However, planting Aloe Vera in water is just a short-time solution as the plant can survive in water for just a few weeks. It can however prove to be very beneficial for the plant as it prevents insect infestations and increases the nutrient intake of the plant.
Propagating Aloe Vera
Propagation refers to the creation of different baby plants from one mother plant. This process is helpful to create many small offspring of one big plant.
There are different means to propagate an Aloe Vera plant. Some of the most popular ways to propagate Aloe Vera are through leaf cuttings or the separation of Aloe pups. Also, the Aloe Vera plant is fairly easy to propagate.
How to Grow Aloe Vera Plant from Leaf
Here is how you can easily propagate an Aloe Vera plant from leaf cuttings.
- Using a sterilized knife neatly cut off a leaf from the mother Aloe plant. The leaf doesn't need to be cut from the joint; you can do it with just a few inches of the leaf.
- As you cut the leaf, the juice inside will make the cut end very wet. So let the leaf aside for some days to dry out. In case it rots, try with another leaf.
- Fill a container with some good Aloe potting mix. Stick the leaf-cutting into the soil, upright. It will soon start rooting, without having to apply any rooting hormones.
- For the next few days, regularly mist the leaf-cutting. Make sure that the soil remains damp, but not soggy. The plant will soon start rooting and growing new leaves. You can then shift to a normal watering schedule.
Where to Buy Aloe Vera Plant
The Aloe Vera is a common and very popular plant. They can easily be bought from any local nursery. You can also easily buy an Aloe Vera plant online.
Here we have answered some FAQS to help you know more about Aloe Vera growth and care.
Is an Aloe Vera plant a type of cactus?
The Aloe Vera plant surely does look very similar to a Cactus, but it is not the same. The Aloe Vera is a succulent plant that can store water.
What are the uses of the Aloe Vera flower?
The Aloe Vera plant has many different benefits. It can be incorporated into skin-care products. It is also an important ingredient in Aloe tea. The Aloe flower is also considered lucky in some parts of the world.
Why is the soil of my Aloe Vera plant turning white?
If the soil for your Aloe Vera plant or even the Aloe Vera plant is turning white, it is a sign of the plant being over-watered. When this happens, immediately reduce the amount of water that you use on the plant.
How to care for Aloe Vera plants in my yard?
Make sure that the Aloe Vera plant in your yard is planted at a spot where it receives an ample amount of sunlight. It can thrive in low-lit regions, no doubt, but the plant won’t produce flowers if it doesn’t meet the proper lighting requirements.
How to make Aloe Vera concentrate at home?
Take some Aloe Vera leaves and wash them well. Let the leaves dry out and cut off the edges of the leaves. Gently take the juice out of the leaves and mix it with some water. You can use this Aloe Vera concentrate for two days by refrigerating it.
Should I leave my Aloe Vera plant outside in the winter?
During the winters, the Aloe Vera plants enter a state of dormancy as they cannot tolerate very cold temperatures. You can let them stay that way, undisturbed. Or, you can shift them inside before the weather gets too cold.
What is the scientific name of Aloe Vera?
The scientific name of Aloe Vera is Aloe barbadensis miller.
How to make an Aloe Vera plant grow faster?
To grow an Aloe Vera plant faster, make sure that you meet the proper care requirements of the plant. Place it in a spot with lots of bright indirect sunlight. Water the plant once every three weeks or so, letting the soil dry out in between two watering sessions.
What part of the Aloe Vera plant is poisonous?
The Aloe latex, which is the yellow gel deep inside the leaves, is poisonous if ingested. Three Aloe Vera plant varieties are toxic. These are Aloe ballyi, Aloe elata and Aloe ruspoliana.
Do Aloe plants need a lot of sun?
Yes, Aloe plants need a lot of bright sunlight. However, make sure that this sunlight falls indirectly on the plant, through curtains or some other similar filter. It can thrive in low light as well, but won’t flower in low light.
Can you use Aloe Vera straight from the plant?
Yes, you can very well use Aloe Vera straight from the plant. Just cut off an aloe Vera leaf and wash it clean before you do so.
How to prepare Aloe Vera gel from Aloe Vera?
Take some Aloe Vera leaves and wash them clean. Let the leaves dry out and cut off their edges. Gently scoop up the gel inside the leaves into a blender. Make sure that you do not add any Aloe skin into the mixture. Blend the mixture until it becomes smooth for application.